Saturday, September 29, 2012

Batrep: Knights & Angels Vs Black Templars, 1750 pts

I'd been toying with the idea of a full-infantry list incorporating some Grey Knights,and earlier this weekend I tried out a new list. Having taken my lessons from an earlier engagement against Deathwing, I figured I needed to kit out my Grey Knights to better combat Terminators. So I put together a list, this time with a few more bodies, and hurled them against Louis' Black Templars.

My Knights & Angels:

Librarian with jump pack, Prescience and Iron Arm
Honor Guard with Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer, 2 Lightning Claws and jump packs
Sanguinary Guard with 2 Infernus pistols, 2 Plasma pistols and power fist
Sanguinary Priest with jump pack
10 Assault Marines with 2 meltaguns, Sgt power weapon and meltabombs
10 Assault Marines with 2 flamers, Sgt power weapon and meltabombs
5 Devastators with 4 missile launchers
Grey Knight Brother-Captain with master-crafted daemonhammer and master-crafted psycannon
5 Grey Knight Terminators with Brotherhood Banner, Warding Stave, Psycannon and 2 Daemonhammers

When you get down to it, a Paladin's 2 Wounds don't really make much difference when you're about to get thumped by power fists, thunder hammers, power klaws, and the like. So I figured I'd use a smaller force of plain Grey Knight Terminators and place the bulk of my points on the Blood Angels instead.

Louis' BlackTemplars:

Chaplain Grimaldus and Retinue
Emperor's Champion
5 Sword Brethren Terminators with 2 Assault Cannons
7 Sword Brethren Assault Terminators with 4 Lightning Claws and 3 shields & hammers
8 Initiates and 3 Neophtes all with bolt pistols and close combat weapons, 2 Initiates with flamers
8 Initiates and 3 Neophtes all with bolt pistols and close combat weapons, 2 Initiates with meltaguns
10-man Assault squad with 2 flamers and 1 power fist
Land Raider Crusader

Vow: Suffer not the unclean to live (+1 Strength, -1 Initiative)

Wow, this army is quite a relic! Still, in its day (and even in 5th ed) Black Templars were amongst the most lethal close combat armies in 40k. Does that still hold true in 6th? Only one way to find out...

Mission: Purge the Alien
Deployment: Dawn of War. I won the roll-off and deployed first. Nightfighting was active for the first turn.

I forgot to take a pic of the deployment, so here's a pic of the battlefield after my first movement phase. The Sanguinary Guard in the upper left corner are in reserve, waiting to Deep Strike.

Truth be told, I really wasn't too sure what to do with my army. On paper, I felt I more or less covered all the bases (apart from the issue of Flyers), having close combat lethality with the Grey Knights, and speed, anti-vehicle firepower, and even more assault skills with the Blood Angels. The thing was, I wasn't really too sure how to wield such an army. I figured what I'd do here was gamble on Louis not stealing the initiative and deploy in a tight line in the centre, with a Blood Angel Assault Squad on each flank.

Turn 1:
BA: Off we go, then! The Blood Angels fired up their jump packs and soared off towards the foe, carefully checking their advance to make use of cover. The Grey Knights lumbered forward and fired with their psycannon towards the LR Crusader, but caused no damage. The Devastators also fired a salvo towards the Crusader, but did nothing.

BT: The Black Templars only shifted a little, obviously electing to let my troops come into his charge range. The Crusader trundled forward a little, firing all its guns at the Assault Squad on my left, and 4 marines fell.

Turn 2:
BA: The Sanguinary Guard arrived, as expected. I landed them in front of the BT Assault Squad, looking to maul them a bit and then follow up with my nearby Assault Squad. The landing went well enough. I moved up the Assault Squad to support them, then moved up the assault elements on the right, carefully placing myself out of the Black Templars' predicted charge range.

The shooting phase brought crushing disappointment as the Infernus and plasma pistols from the Sanguinary Guard flared and spat burning plasma death... and missed. Every one of them. An Angelus bolter hit. It failed to wound. I swear, I could have facepalmed myself with a powerfist...

The Devastators fared better, though, and managed 3 glancing hits on the Crusader. Better yet, Louis didn't manage to make a single cover save! The Grey Knights fired a salvo into the Terminators, slaying one, and that was that for my turn 2.

BT: Spurred by Righteous Zeal, the Terminators stomped a few inches towards the Sanguinary Guard. *This was a mistake! The Righteous Zeal move should have been made after my shooting during my turn!* Anyway, during the movement phase, they moved through the undergrowth to bring their guns to bear on the Guard, together with the BT Assault Squad, who leveled their flamers...

Oh, man, this won't end well...

After the guns had fired...
Thus ends the Sanguinary Guards role in this battle. Pathetic...

Elsewhere, the Black Termplars advanced to my right, focusing all guns on the Assault Marines there. I got lucky, though. When the gunsmoke cleared, only 1 marine had fallen.

The Assault Terminators, in the meantime, had disembarked, looking to charge the Assault Marines. They tried, and my overwatch fire pinged off their armour, but the charge failed.

Turn 3:
BA: Alrighty, then, it's go time! First off, the Librarian cast Prescience on the nearby Assault Marines. They jumped towards Grimaldus' squad, and fortunately lost none of their number to dangerous terrain tests. The Other assault squad made towards the Crusader at full speed, looking to put their meltaguns to good use. The Grey Knights scrambled through the foliage, ready to charge the Assault Terminators. The Librarian and his Honour Guard moved close behind the Assault Squad to make sure they get the benefit of the Sanguinary Novitiate's grail.

Shooting was disappointing. The meltaguns failed to scratch the Crusader. On the right, flamers belched and bolt pistols barked, leaving only Grimaldus, his retinue and 2 Initiates standing. Louis rolled for Righteous Zeal, and Grimaldus' squad moved 6" away from my Assault Marines which, combined with the casualties I'd caused with my shooting, took the squad way out of my charge range.

*At this point, now that I've read the Black Templar Codex a little closer, I noticed a grievous error had been made here. Righteous Zeal states that, on taking any casualties from shooting, a Black Templar unit must make a Morale check. On failing, they fall back as usual, but on passing, they must move 1D6" towards the closest enemy unit. If a Chaplain is with the unit, then they may make their move towards any enemy unit, not just the nearest one. Grimaldus is a bit more awesome, so any unit within 6" of him may control their Righteous Zeal move in this manner. Be that as it may, Grimaldus' squad could NOT have moved directly away from my Assault Marines in that manner.*

Ah, well... Such are the perils of using an ancient codex...

The Grey Knights charged into the Assault Terminators, and in a vicious melee, wiped them out, losing 4 of their number in the process. The other Assault Squad managed to charge the Crusader, and the sergeant wrecked it with his meltabomb.

BT: Well, I gave it my best shot, and didn't do nearly enough damage. The Black Templars converged on my forces from all sides. Both my Assault Squads, the Grey Knights, and the Librarian and his Honour Guard got charged. Didn't get many pics from this point on. That is, alas, wont to happen in games where I'm getting wiped off the board... :-(

Anyway, the assault phase couldn't have gone better for Louis. I took crippling casualties all round, but all assaults left the Black Templars engaged, with the exception of their Assault Squad, which, naturally, was out of range of my Devastators.

Turn 4 and 5:
Well, nothing for me to shoot, so we went straight to assault. It ended on all fronts predictably enough. All my presently engaged units were wiped out, leaving me with just my unhappy squad of Devastators and the Assault Squad engaged with Grimaldus. That was going a little slower than expected, thanks to the fact that a crozius is just AP 4 now...

Grimaldus did eventually manage to blat the Assault Squad, and the Black Templars all headed towards my unhappy Devastators... 

I'd show the Victory point totals, but seriously, is there any point? The Black Templars are victorious!

Gadzooks! Tabled! Looking back on this battle, I'd be the first to admit that I had blundered, badly and repeatedly throughout the battle. Let me count the ways, in no particular order:

1) Maneuver - I really could have made better use of my Blood Angels, what with almost all of them having jump packs. If I had taken the Blood Angels from the right and suddenly shifted to the left, then moved up my Devastators, I could have left Louis' Initiates and Neophytes plodding after me while I focused my resources to better deal with the Terminators. Also, the Sanguinary Guard were ill-used. In retrospect, I'd have been better off just letting them start on the board and advance behind the Assault Squads, using them to bolster my charges.

2) List construction - The Grey Knights were a waste of points and nothing more. Really, I threw a lot of points into them, 465, to be precise. In terms of firepower, I could have done a lot more with that many points (a Stormraven or two comes to mind). Granted, the Brother-captain was absurdly unlucky with his hit rolls, but seriously, even if I had gotten 2 squads of Devastators with Lascannons, I'd have been cutting up those accursed Terminators and had points to spare for, say, a Landspeeder Typhoon. In close combat, the Grey Knights were utterly inadequate against Assault Terminators. We saw in this battle that 465 points of Grey Knights only barely managed to take down 280 points of Assault Terminator. That is just pathetic, and it'll be a long, long time before my Grey Knights come off the shelf...

3) Know your enemy, know yourself - I really should have taken a moment to read up Black Templars' special rules before I took on this scrap. Who knows? Perhaps if I had gotten the charge on Grimaldus' squad on Turn 3, things could have gone very differently, especially since my Assault Squad was ready with Prescience cast on them and a Sanguinary Novitiate at their back...

So, what to do from here? Well first, the Grey Knights have got to go. Since I started writing this battle report, I came to the firm realization that the Blood Angels have no need of the Grey Knights in providing a close combat Deathstar. There is, however, one thing they can provide, and that's guns. More specifically, guns with psybolt ammo. The 465 pts that went into my Grey Knight contingent could easily go into something like:

Brotherhood Champion
5-man Grey Knight Strike Squad
Stormraven with twin-linked heavy bolter, twin-linked assault cannon, hurricane bolters and psybolt ammo

All that and 10 points left to get a suitable trinket for the Strike Squad, perhaps.  Well, whatever. The point is to be able to bring that lovely Stormraven brimming with twin-linked death and maiming to battle!

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